You did everything right. You found a tutor for your kid so she could get the highest SAT score possible. You helped him apply for all the right scholarships. You saved to help cover some of her other college expenses. Now your sweet baby is headed off to earn his degree; and you are ready to spruce up your empty nest. Right?
Not so fast. There is one more thing your precious offspring needs before she chooses which sorority to pledge: estate planning documents. “But Amy doesn’t have an estate!” Estate planning is more than just leaving instructions for who gets what after you die.
In the past, you have taken care of all of your kid’s doctors’ appointments and permission slips. But now that your kids are 18, you have no legal right to make medical or financial decisions for them. What if Emma is studying abroad in Florence, and she needs you to handle something for her at the bank or the school? What if Jaxson gets hurt at the conference track and field meet and needs you to get medical records for him? Unless you have written authority to do so, you cannot help your precious babies because they are legally adults.
You might have a smidgeon of disbelief after all your kids are still on your health insurance, and you are paying their tuition. This does not matter. Once a person reaches the age of 18, they are an adult and as such afforded medical and financial privacy.
You may run into the occasional doctor or banker who may bend the rules for you in a “one-off” situation, but the best way to help your young-adult is to make sure power of attorney documents are in place.
A durable power of attorney can give you very broad or very limited authority to “take care of business” for your kid. It can be limited as to timing, types of powers, and authority to give gifts to avoid tax penalties.
A combination medical directive, medical power of attorney, and HIPPA release helps communicate your kid’s wishes if he is unable to speak for himself. It also authorizes you to talk to physicians on your kid’s behalf and obtain medical records. As you prepare for THE COLLEGE YEARS, give yourself and your college student peace of mind by having proper power of attorney documents in place.
Comment below or email us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about setting your student up for success.